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I am a beginner in photography. Can you please tell me which will perform better for wildlife and nature photography?

Still confused over Canon or Nikon

Regards Venkatesh T

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related Comparable Nikon to the Canon 550d –  akram Jun 26 '12 at 14:55
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possible duplicate of What are considerations when choosing a DSLR brand? –  mattdm Jun 26 '12 at 15:09
    
It might be worth noting that the D3200 is the replacement for the D3100. –  Dan Wolfgang Jun 26 '12 at 15:25
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What climate surrounds your wildlife and nature? If you'll need weather proofing, the new Pentax K30 might be worth checking. A weather-proof kit of Canon/Nikon will very likely cost and weigh more (neither of the models you mention is weather-sealed). –  Imre Jun 27 '12 at 3:25

3 Answers 3

These cameras are extremely close. They are both entry-level DSLRs with basic controls but completely usable image quality.

For wildlife in movements, such as birds in flight and other animals in action, people normally go for a camera with faster autofocus than these two models but between them I would give a slight edge to the D3100 because its AF is more sensitive to light (By 0.5 EV, I did say slight :) and more autofocus points with Nikon's 3D Tracking Autofocus.

What makes the biggest difference for wildlife photography is to the lens. Professionals use bright long lenses which are extremely expensive and quite heavy. Unless you are able to, you will have to compromise but something in the 200 to 400mm range for game and large animals and in the 400+ range for birds is recommended. One of my favorite is the Sigma 100-300mm F/4 which is extremely sharp and available for both Canon and Nikon but I would consider it too short for serious bird photography.

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For general comparison, check here

Actually both are pretty the same. I don't want to repeat what the above link is saying cause I'm encouraging you to read it. Basically for wildlife and nature photography, any good cropped sensor DSLR will do. It's a matter of what lenses you are going to get cause for wildlife you probably will have to buy telephoto lenses.

Whether it's Canon or Nikon is a personal decision pick whatever you feel better in your hand. You can rent both for a week and see which one do you prefer. Also invest sometime in planing which lenses you are going to get and compare prices.

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dpreview.com is also useful but a similar priced canon and Nikon is pretty close. There are a few dealbreakers, which you can find in the pro and con list. For me this comparison pushes me towards canon. If you are into video, you will also want canon, as it has more controls while shooting, and external microphone. However, we aware that video for these camera will never really be good, due to rolling cmos shutter.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos550d/29

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond3100/19

Con for Nikon: No exposure bracketing <-dealbreaker (for me)

None of the cons for the canon matters to me.

I also have to agree with the "tactile feel" test and it is the most important feature to check out and you cannot read about it. I prefer the "feel" of the canon bodies with a battery grib, which adds stability, wight and gives camera controls to the camera when shooting tilted.

Conclusion: A structured way to decide is to read these reviews and decide what is important to you , what is your use cases, is there a dealbreaker, and go to the store and feel them in the hand, how do you access the controls (like how many features have physical buttons, rather than stepping through a slow menu), and consider how it will feel with a speedlite 5xx and a 200mm zoom lens, and a battery grib.

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